White-hot summer continues for Giants’ Evan Engram

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This season is a crucial one for New York Giants tight end Evan Engram. The 2017 first-round pick out of Ole Miss is in his fifth year with the Giants and is eligible for free agency after this season.

It goes without saying that the inconsistent Engram needs to have a solid year in order to continue his career with the Giants.

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Engram is off to a good start this summer. He has been sharp in training camp and projects as the player the Giants were hoping they were getting four years ago. Last year, Engram was named to the Pro Bowl. This summer, he looks every bit like a Pro Bowler.

At the Giants’ joint practice against the Browns in Cleveland on Thursday, Engram was too much for the Browns’ defense, who tried to contain him with a linebacker.

Giants.com host and analyst John Schmeelk described Engram’s day at practice:

Engram had the biggest play of practice for the offense during one of the first competitive team drills. Engram darted down the seam within a zone and caught a perfectly placed missile from Daniel Jones. He was quickly off to the races, and had a chance to turn the catch into a 60-yard touchdown.

Early in practice during 1-on-1 drills, Engram was a difficult cover for the Browns linebackers. He created separation one more than one route and made a catch that resulted in a big gain toward the sideline.

These are the mismatch scenarios the Giants have been trying to exploit for years with Engram. Unfortunately, injuries, misuse and dropped passes — among other things — have gotten in the way of Engram’s date with stardom.

Engram is ready for the season. He is healthy and poised for a big year. With free agent Kyle Rudolph sidelined, Engram is getting more time on the field than the Giants had originally planned for him. He’s making good use of it.

Engram is treating these scrimmages like actual games, champing at the bit to strut his stuff.

“I’ve had gameday vibes ever since we got to the hotel [Wednesday] night, and I know I’m not the only one. It’s a great opportunity for guys and for everybody that’s trying to make the team, to get film out there, to get film for the coaches to evaluate. It definitely had a little gameday feel and I think that’s good for us too,” Engram told reporters.

The Giants have added a load of firepower to their passing game in players such as Rudolph, Kenny Golladay, John Ross and Kadarius Toney, but all of them have been hobbled by injuries.

The healthy Engram has capitalized on their absences. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.